Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are transferred from person to person through sexual contact, such as orally, anally or vaginally. If you’ve had unprotected sex, not only could you be pregnant, but you could also have an STI. Additionally, it’s also possible to have an STI and not know it. Many women will not experience any symptoms in the early stages of infection, but if left untreated, these infections can cause serious harm to your body.
There are over 25 different STIs and by age 25, 50 percent of sexually active individuals will contract one. Some STIs are curable, while some are not, which is why it’s important to get tested as soon as possible after unprotected sexual contact. Below, you can find some of the most common STIs along with the symptoms associated with each.
Chlamydia typically does not elicit any symptoms initially, which is why it’s often called the “silent disease.” It is also the most frequently reported STI in the U.S. If an infected woman does experience symptoms, they may include burning with urination, unusual vaginal discharge, blood in the urine or pelvic pain. Once diagnosed, chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics.
Many women infected with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. If they do, they are typically mistaken for a bladder infection. You can contract gonorrhea through any sexual contact, and if a woman is pregnant, it can be transferred to the fetus as well. Although gonorrhea is curable, if left untreated it can cause serious and permanent health problems in both men and women.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts is the most common STI. More than 50 percent of sexually active people will contract HPV in their lifetime. Sometimes, the body will clear up HPV on its own, however, some forms of HPV can lead to certain types of cancers. There are more than 100 types of HPV, so symptoms differ greatly. If genital warts are present, they can be treated and removed in a variety of ways.
While most of the time herpes has no symptoms, when there is a breakout, it will cause painful blisters around the anus or genitals. There is no cure for herpes, but there are treatments that can help manage breakouts. Without medication and proper treatment, herpes can easily spread to other sexual partners.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes the disease AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV/AIDS is transmitted by blood and bodily fluids. Most HIV infections do not have any symptoms and a person could remain symptomless for years. However, if HIV progresses, it leads to AIDS, which could cause severe health problems and may lead to death. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, however, symptoms can be managed through a variety of treatments.
Syphilis is spread by coming in contact with open sores. Early signs of syphilis include small, firm sores around the genital region, mouth or anus. An infected person may also experience rashes, fever, swollen glands, weight loss, fatigue, and more. If the infection is caught early, it can be treated. However, if left untreated, it can cause nervous system failure and brain damage.
First Choice Georgia can provide you with additional STI information as well as testing and treatment if you believe you may be infected.